1.Listen. Every person has his or her own story to tell. Behind every face and every person there’s a very special and unique story about losses and victorious, experiences and memories. I experienced that people are often willing to share their stories if they just find someone who would listen. Learn to be a good listener and you can serve other people in a very special and gentle way. Even though most likely you will not be able to solve your counterparts problems, they’re just getting easier by having somebody who listens.
2.Don’t judge the other culture. On my first mission trip I was taught: No culture is better or worse, they are just different. Every culture has something to offer, to teach, to show, to train, to develop further. Even though experiencing another culture challenged me a lot in some ways, focusing on what I could learn from that culture instead of complaining about the things that were annoying made it much easier for me to settle in.
3.Learn the language. I do not mean you have to learn a language fluently before you go for a few-weeks-outreach into antoher country. But just knowing a few basic words is incredible helpful. Don’t you think it will make the local people smile when you can greet them “Hello” or “Thank you” in their own language? Hearing you speak in their own language will open their hearts and can help you a lot to build connection to the locals.
4.Go to serve and not to be served. In some countries foreigners are hyped and loved a lot. Especially when going to a country where people are poorer than you or admire the way you look (white skin) or talk. This can give you a trhill. But I had to learn that outreach is not about me or about the country and culture I come from. Instead, I came in this country to serve and not be serve. Taking the attitude of being a servant for this country not looking for my own benefit or how well I am treated or how much people like me is a great challenge for me over and over again.
5.Pray for the country and the people you are going to meet. This is actually the greatest service we can do to the places we are going. Ask God to guide you and to move through you. He can lead you in great encounters. When staying constantly connected to God, he can show us best where he wants to use us in this country. We have to have a open heart and open ears to be sensitive to wherever God wants to move. I always love “doing” things but God made very clear to me: If I do not pray how can I expect anything to happen?